Can I have your opinion please?

I would really value your opinion on this!

As long time readers will know, I don’t really review things here.  The closest I come, is with the occasional mention of a blog I like.

Increasingly though, people are emailing me; asking if there are business blogs, books, products or services, which I use and can recommend to them.  Until now, I have always replied to these emails, via email.

I’m wondering if these recommendations may be of value or interest to you?

I have no intention of writing long, boring reviews.  Reviewing is actually a highly skilled area of writing, which is why blogger reviews are often so dull. Instead, I’m talking about a brief heads up, where I share the most valuable and interesting resources I know, with you.

I am currently reading a fantastic book by Laurie Young, called; The Marketer’s Handbook.  It’s all about how traditional marketing techniques and ideas work (or not) in today’s marketplace.  Books like this deserve your attention, yet the only people who know I highly recommend it, are those who have emailed me recently asking for marketing book recommendations.  Equally, there are software programs, services and hardware that are essential to my business, which I know would be of direct benefit to many of you.

Please let me know what you think!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Disconnected

Many years ago, I discovered that the person you should trust the least, is usually the person who keeps telling you, you should trust them.  In almost every case, those I have come into contact with in business, who keep talking about the importance of trust, have proven to be untrustworthy.

Similarly, whenever I have heard someone on a radio phone-in, start a sentence with the words; “I’m not a racist, but…” they always go on to say something that’s racist.

I even had a comment once from someone, who said that content scraping sucked.  I then saw he had scraped a dozen of my posts and used them on his blog, listing himself as the author!

Right now, I’m receiving a string of sales emails from a blogger, who frequently writes about the importance of NOT pushing sales messages on people.  Again, a 180 degree  disconnect, between what the person says and what the person does.

The bottom line: Be extremely cautious when dealing with anyone in business, who feels compelled to make a big point of telling everyone, how opposed they are to something that’s negative.  It’s not always an indicator that they are full of crap, but in my experience, it’s accurate far more often than not.

This is just TOO MUCH information!

Too much really is too much.

  • If you get too many inquiries in too short a timespan, you can’t respond to them effectively or as swiftly as you should.
  • If you attract too much traffic to your website, your servers will go down.
  • If you take on too many new clients, too closely together, the quality of the service they receive from you will dip.
  • If you have too much “spare time” you are 100% definitely neglecting something important.

Aim for balanced growth

Success in business means developing the correct balance.  As soon as we introduce too much of anything, the balance is altered and other areas suffer a negative imbalance.

Focus your efforts on growing your business in a balanced way.  Check your resources.  Ensure you have the capacity in place for when it’s needed.

Why the hostility? I don’t understand it!

Why are people so hostile, to bloggers who write books, which include subjects covered in their blog posts?  That’s not a rhetorical question, I am genuinely looking for an answer and would appreciate your feedback.

The typical complaint I hear, is that some bloggers books contain a lot of the material, which is freely available on the author’s blog.

Here’s how I see it

A blog with hundreds or maybe thousands of posts, can take someone many hours, before they search through all the content to find the key parts they are interested in.  Time is money. On this blog, I offer a categories section, a month by month archive and a search box and even I find it hard to quickly locate particular posts!

A site like copyblogger, which has no archives, no dates on any posts and where posts are not fully categorised, would take someone days to mine for all the key information they need. That said, those guys sell inexpensive information products based on much of their cornerstone content, which is an effective solution, in my opinion.

Of course, even after someone trawled their way through hundreds or thousands of posts, it’s probable they will miss key content out, if they haven’t already gone blind from eye strain!  Then they need somewhere to put that information, so it can be indexed and easily read.

Now, given that all of the blogger books I have seen, retail at below the hourly income of their intended readership, are they really so wrong to charge for it?  It’s also worth mentioning that with a few well-known exceptions, these books offer a lot of new material and fresh insights, not simply rehashes of the authors blog posts.

I would love to know what you think about this, so please share your thoughts.

Build a hugely valuable client list with this 1 simple idea

email marketing

Can you imagine trying to run your business without email?

It would be possible, but a lot more awkward. You would need to use snail mail more often, which is slow and expensive.  Many of the people you know have Facebook accounts, so you could ask them to “friend” you, allowing you to send them messages quickly.  Of course, some of these people don’t use Facebook much when they are at work and other business contacts of yours hardly use it at all.  (You can join me on Facebook here!)

So, whilst there are ways to lessen the impact of having no email, it would cause a lot of disruption and your business would be far worse off for the lack of email access.

THAT is how you need your clients to feel, about losing you as a service provider!

The service you provide should be solving a significant problem for your clients and their business AND be extremely hard to replace.  Offering that kind of uniquely valuable service, means it makes no sense for your clients to leave you.

The question you need to ask and answer on a regular basis is:

How hard would it be right now, for my clients to replace me?

If they could get a similar service for a similar fee elsewhere; you need to work on developing unique value as soon as possible.  This means using your creativity to differentiate yourself, based on value – Not just being different for the sake of it.

Never let a week go by, without thinking at least once about ways to pump as much value into your services as possible.

A great opportunity for coaches and trainers!

Do you work as a coach or trainer?

Are you interested in attracting more high quality clients and inquiries?

If you just answered yes to both of those questions, I have a great opportunity for you!

As of today, there are a small number of places being made available on my content marketing program, but only for those of you working as coaches or trainers.

To find out how the Content Marketing Program can help you and your business, read this post.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Build a great business with these powerful, creative ideas

Today’s post will show you how to tap into the most valuable resource in your business.  Your brain!

I want to start with a quick question.  How good are you at creatively solving problems?  I ask this, because marketing and business development is a largely creative process.  We need to constantly, creatively look for ways to:

  • Improve our products and services.
  • Make our marketing messages more compelling.
  • Improve the customer or client experience with better customer service.
  • Reduce our attrition rate (that’s the rate at which we lose clients.)
  • Increase the reach of our marketing.
  • The list goes on and on and on.

Creative thinking in action

I recently learned of a creative solution to a pressing problem, which demonstrates the power and value of creative thinking.  It’s a great little story with a wonderfully simple lesson!

An elderly couple from a small town in the UK were being bothered late at night, every night, by a group of loud, often drunk teenagers who had started congregating on the corner of their street.  Although the old folk suffered worse, as the commotion was close to their front door, the noise, which would often go on until 3am, impacted around 20 homes.  Initially they tried reasoning with the kids, but it didn’t work.  Then they tried calling the police, but the kids just came back when the cops went.

One day, the residents got together at a local hall, to see if they could find a way to resolve the problem.  They were about an hour into their meeting, when a taxi driver arrived to pick up one of the group to take him home.  He asked what the problem was and they told him.  Instantly, he announced to the group:

I know how to solve that, it’s easy!

The group listened intently to hear what the taxi driver had to say.

The reason those kids meet there, is because the place where they used to congregate (which was out of the way) has grass that’s 4 feet high and it’s being used as an illegal place to dump rubbish/garbage.  Your corner has a lovely clean plot, with railings that they can sit on.  So, you need to make their old meeting place appealing again and make your corner less appealing.  I suggest you start, by feeding the birds at those railings on your street!

Feeding the birds?  Are you crazy?

Those kids spend a lot of money on their clothing.  They will not want to sit on the railings at the corner of your street, in the dark, if the birds have been dumping all over it!  I’d get started today feeding the birds and then get some people together to clean up their old congregating place.  The kids need somewhere to go and you have to give them an alternative, or you are simply moving the problem onto another local street.

It took almost a month, but it worked.  The kids went back to their old, out of the way spot; where generations of local teens had hung out.  As soon as the kids went, the area on the street corner was cleaned and the residents were able to sleep again.

We are all creative

In my experience, businesspeople often see creative thinking as something that an elite minority are blessed with.  The reality is the polar opposite!  We are all creative.

Even those who don’t regard themselves as being creative, use their creativity every day.  For example, they see a traffic jam on the way to work, so they think of a way around it.  They get home from work hungry.  They go to the kitchen and realise they forgot to get their groceries, so there is a limited number of ingredients; however, they come up with a meal by creatively designing a dinner, based on maximizing their limited resources.  All day, every day, you are creatively solving problems.

Tapping into your creativity

Just like the traffic jam and dinner problems I mentioned a moment ago, you need to focus your creativity on a problem, from a mindset that there IS an answer.  Here are some questions to ask yourself, just to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Which 10 influential people would I like to know, who could help me with my business?
  • How can I attract the attention and interest of these people?
  • What new product or service can I offer to my existing clients? (This is the single fastest way to increase your profits.)
  • And here are 32 more GREAT questions, to get your business moving forward.

I hope you found these ideas, examples and questions useful.

If you did, I would really appreciate it if you would share this post with your friends on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin.  Thanks!

Bread for the head

My mentor, Jim Rohn, used to call knowledge; “bread for the head.”  I love that phrase.

Jim’s message was to invest the money required, to gather the knowledge you need; to feed your mind and become MORE.

  • Read the books.
  • Listen to the audio programs.
  • Attend the seminars.
  • Watch the DVDs.

Why?  Because whenever you look at the people who fail to invest in their education, you find that they are not doing so good.  They are out there right now, wondering when their luck will change.  They are living where they don’t want to live.  They are getting through life, without getting much from life.

How I fed my head

I started out with a few books my older brother gave me.  He took pity on me.  I was broke and living in a violent, slum.  I had no job.  I was sick of being broke and going nowhere.  So, I decided to read the books he gave me.

8 years later, I found myself financially secure for life, aged just 29.  I was married to my beautiful wife and running my own marketing business.  I was waking up each day, just happy to be alive.

To get from broke age 21 to secure for life age 29, I invested thousands in my personal and professional development. I have invested a lot more since then.

Don’t do like Joe & Josephine average

Joe happily invests hundreds on the latest phone each year, but wouldn’t dream of spending the same amount on developing his mind.

Josephine happily invests in her daily skinny latte, during her lunch break from the job she hates, but wouldn’t spend the same amount on feeding her mind so she could get a job she loves.

Feed your mind with the knowledge you need and watch what happens to you in every area of your life.  I’m telling you, the results can be, as in my own case, life changing.

Seth Godin interview: The power of presence

I just listened to something, which I have to share with you.  It is an interview with Seth Godin, however, it’s not the subject matter of the interview that I want to bring to your attention.

It’s something far, far more valuable.  It’s a lesson in presence and leadership that everyone should listen to!

The power of presence

Seth was speaking with the guys at RadioLitopia about his thoughts on the future of publishing.  Throughout the interview, Seth generously shared what he knew.  He listened intently when his interviewers were speaking.  At no point did he attempt to dominate the conversation, score points of his interviewers or brag about his achievements, however, his presence was enormous.

As a teenager, I met with Arnold Schwarzenegger at Bob Page’s Gym in South East London.  Arnold filled the room.  It wasn’t just his size, it was his entire persona, his presence.  In this interview, Seth filled the conversation like Arnold filled the room.  If you had no idea who Seth Godin was, you would realise in minutes that he is a person of influence; a leader.

Personally, I learned more from listening to the way Seth conducted himself during that interview, than I have learned from entire books on professional development.

Even if you have zero interest in publishing, listen to that interview and hear how a genuine leader magnetically attracts your attention, then earns your respect.

Thanks for an unexpected learning opportunity, Seth!

Update

After I wrote the post, I mentioned it to Seth.  He then told me that the reason the interview went so well, was because of the other guy’s interviewing skills.  I think Seth and I can agree to disagree on this one 😉

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo credit: Seth Godin

Don’t major in minor things

One of the most common attributes of every successful person I know, is that they focus their energy and time intelligently.

They don’t waste major time on minor things.

The Pareto principle famously said that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts.  In reality, it could be that 80% of our results come from 10% or 30% of our efforts, however, the concept behind it is sound.  Our job then, is twofold.

  1. We need to discover what the key activities are that produce the highest return for us.
  2. We need to ensure that whatever happens, these activities get done before we start on lower value tasks.

Failing to invest your time correctly, means you run the risk of mistaking movement for progress.  I know many small business owners, who work hard and often long hours too, but they achieve very little.  They are like the guy rowing his boat with all his strength in the wrong direction.  The harder he rows, the more lost he becomes.

We have to be wiser than that.

We have to examine what we want to achieve and then determine what the key activities are, to get us from where we are to where we want to be.  Once you know what these activities are, you need to ask yourself the following question throughout the day:

Is this the best use of my time right now?

If the answer is yes, then carry on.  If the answer is no, then go and get to work on a more worthy use of your valuable time.